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From: Jared Hamilton
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Arnold Tijerina

Arnold Tijerina President & Corporate Storyteller

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The FTC May Have Just Killed Twitter Marketing For Dealers

Hmm. Let’s think about that a moment. On a platform that allows only 140 character submissions, how, exactly, do you tell your followers about a great lease special, factory incentive or other promotion AND include the tiny, almost unreadable, 2 paragraph disclosure in 6 point font at the bottom of the ad? Well, you don’t.

So, what does that prohibit by default? Pretty much anything you want to promote that requires a disclosure and, for most car dealers, that’s just about everything. Heck, most factory incentives have disclosures. Contests, giveaways, or any other promotion (social media or otherwise) as well as coupons, service specials, and other customer offerings would also be excluded.

The easiest way to determine whether you can or can’t tweet something about any special, ad car, incentive, lease special, promotion, coupon, service special, parts special etc. is by following one basic rule:

If it needs a disclosure, you can’t tweet about it.

See, that was simple wasn’t it?

Now, all of the above being said, Facebook’s Terms of Service in regards to contests, promotions and such are violated, trampled over and ignored all of the time by both vendors (who know better) and by dealers (who may or may not).

That being said, Facebook can’t investigate your dealership and fine you for non-compliance with advertising regulations either.

So, has the FTC effectively killed Twitter marketing for businesses?

It depends on what you’re tweeting about.

If your tweets are informative, quality content or customer service and engagement focused then no. If your strategy is to blast your inventory and specials to Twitter on some sort of robotic RSS feed that forces everyone to not listen to you anyways, then yes.

You make the call. It’s your business but the U.S. Government has spoken.

Eric Miltsch
I think this is a great move by the FTC, not simply because of the need for disclosure, but because maybe this is what it'll take to clean up the crap being shared by marketers and dealers alike.
Richard Klepach
So what are some examples of car dealerships who's tweets are "informative, quality content or customer service and engagement focused"?
Arnold Tijerina
Not too many of those. If I were a dealer, I'd be looking at Twitter accounts in the hospitality industry, customer service twitter accounts, etc. Most dealers just want to say "buy a car" 100 different ways.
Eric Miltsch
Richard - perfect example, check out my old dealership: https://twitter.com/AuctionDirect And even better, go back through it's history (I left a year ago) and notice the difference between those posts and the most recent posts. Those posts about specific vehicles and prices - not within the FTC's guidelines. Even better & more current, check out Suzuki of Wichita's twitter activity - they nail it: https://twitter.com/suzukiofwichita One of the easiest ways to succeed in social media is to simply be present and interact with people. How do you do that on twitter? Just go here: https://twitter.com/search-advanced & search for phrases such as "need a car" in the first line and add your location to the bottom line. Do that every single, for 20 minutes for a year and you'll be see the fruits of your labor as your digital marketing activity begins to swell.

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